In the offline world in a typical office setting files are always present in every department. Files are simply documentations pertaining to the company's profile as well as information on HR matters, financial status, operations and legal matters to name a few. In the computing world the same applies. Files are omnipresent - often hidden in some unknown directory - but grace to the search function always far more easier to find.
So - what is a file, anyway?
A file is an information container that stores some data in a certain format. The format of a file is usually encrypted in his extension (the 3 end characters that end the file name). The extension basically inform the operating system what software application the file need in order to be handled properly. There are a lot of applications out there and each of them have its own and unique used extension. (If you ever need an information about an extension - there is a huge searchable database online that stores a large amount of extensions and where you can find info about any kind of extension you want - at File-Extensions.org)
Can you imagine a company without even a single file at all? And as it is not imaginable in the offline world â€“ it is even less likely so in the computers era when the amount of computer files used increases tremendously. Only trying to enumerate the categories for files and you reach easily hundred. In order to give you an idea I will enumerate just the main 3 big categories of software here:
- Operating systems â€“ there are tens of different operating systems â€“ a few of them being: Windows, Mac OS X, CP/M, DOS, VMS, and VM/CMS, Linux, UNIX in no particular order. And each of them has its own system of files with a wide range of extensions. (Only in Windows are hundreds of types â€“ 3 of them being these: *.sys file â€“ system files, *.ini â€“ configuration files, *.bak â€“ backup files)
- Programming software - the main tools being: compilers, debuggers and linkers. Each these tools differ from a programming language to another â€“ and the list of programming languages is huge. (Just to give an example here â€“ the C language has among a lot others these extensions: *.cpp, *.c, *.c++)
- Application Software â€“ here we can enumerate a lot of different categories each one having a lot of different applications which at them turn have their own format of file â€“ moreover in fact several files formats. (In the editing field only â€“ for the Microsoft Word â€“ the most common used extensions are these: *.doc, *.docx, *.txt, *.rtf, *.dot. Keep in mind that this is just one application in the Microsoft suite! ). For an extended list of application software categories you can check this article: "What is Application Software?'.
And all these files need to be stored somewhere. Aside from the hard disk of a laptop or computer desktop files are also kept in compact discs, USB flash drive, memory cards and other high technology saving devices. When comes to vital information stored in these files - then the files are usually backup and stored in several places. Even for a simple user it is better to have a system in place to store all the important files as a backup on a regular basis.